“Tom, don’t you think you should pray about this before you make a move?”
“You pray, Dad. I’ve made my decision. I’m going.” Tom slammed the lid of the suitcase, grabbed his guitar, and left the room. He descended the stairs two at a time, ignoring his mom’s tear-streaked face as he walked out the door. They’ve never understood! I have a vision. It’s my own and I will see it through.
It had been this way all his life. His parents had never let him make a decision on his own. “Pray about it, Son,” his dad always said. “Take it to the Lord.” Tom knew that Jesus died for him, he accepted that and he loved the Lord. But wasn’t he entitled to make his own decisions? Didn’t he have free will?
Tom reached the end of the dirt road that led to the only home he’d ever known and headed into town. He walked past Ole’ Grocer, Jack’s Barber Shop and Bonnie’s Place, the only restaurant and inn in this God forsaken place. Ignoring their stares as he reached the small white building they called church, he stopped and looked up. He’d grown up hearing his dad preach here. After years of having to sit amongst pots and pans to catch the leaks when it rained, they had finally fixed the roof. Just last year they’d put up a steeple and installed fancy electronic bells.
Tears threatened and Tom turned away. He wasn’t about to let his emotions make him think about changing his mind. He was tired of living in this backwoods town, and besides, he had a vision. Bright lights and the hustle and bustle of city life beckoned, spurring him onward. He was going to be a star.
The sun had gone almost completely down when the faded blue Grand Prix pulled to a stop beside him. “Need a ride?”
‘Yeah man, thanks.” Throwing his suitcase and guitar in the back seat, Tom hopped in the front.
“Name’s Jerry. Where ya headed?”
Tom shook Jerry’s hand. “Tom. Nashville.”
“Nice git-tar ya got there.” Jerry jerked his head toward the back seat. “You famous?”
Tom grinned. “Not yet.”
Jerry chuckled and turned up the radio. Tom sat back and closed his eyes. A popular country tune crackled over the airwaves as he drifted off to sleep
The swish-swish of windshield wipers woke him. Tom sat up straight and peered out the side window, unable to see anything beyond the shoulder of the road. It was after midnight and raining hard. He looked ahead, seeing nothing but slanted streaks of water in the beam of the headlights, thankful again for his driver’s generosity.
“How long has it been raining?” Tom asked.
“’Bout an hour.” Jerry took a swig from a soda and looked sideways at Tom. “There’s more in the cooler in the back if you’re thirsty.”
Grateful, Tom reached over the seat and grabbed a drink. He barely had time to notice the two headlights right in front of them before the windshield exploded.
It was a far cry from his original vision, this small room they called the auditorium. There was no light show; no one would be able to see it for they were in the Jackson School for the Blind, and this was where he played every Friday night.
Tom tuned his guitar while he waited for everyone to settle down. Chairs scraping across the floor, small whispering voices and Judy’s gentle shush were sounds he’d become most familiar with in the last year.
Angry and depressed at the loss of his sight, he’d been reluctant when Judy first suggested he play for the children here. But one of the first things he learned about Judy Hamilton after learning that she was also blind, was that she was persistent. Soon her gentle love and that of the children broke through the barriers he’d erected after the accident. Acceptance of God’s will came, and with it a willingness to look to Him for his future.
Thank you, Lord. Tom began the first sweet notes of “Amazing Grace” as the gentle peace of God washed over him. Yes, he’d had a vision. But God’s was better.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6 (KJV)
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